PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION AND THE UNITED NATIONS
Report adopted without a vote by the IPU Council
The United Nations General Assembly subsequently adopted, on 8 November 2000, resolution 55/19 on cooperation between the UN and the IPU in which it asked the UN Secretary-General, "in consultation with member States and with the IPU, to explore ways in which a new and strengthened relationship may be established between the IPU, the General Assembly and its subsidiary organs".
The Executive Committee has elaborated a set of initial suggestions for such a "new and strengthened relationship", which are contained in the attached document. This document has been shared with all IPU members, the UN Secretary-General and member States in New York. In the document, the Executive Committee suggests that the future relationship between the IPU, the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary organs should :
between the IPU, the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies
Prepared by the IPU Executive Committee
1. The Inter-Parliamentary Union is committed to providing a parliamentary dimension to international cooperation. This commitment was most recently confirmed by the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments. Governments as well are increasingly calling for strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and national parliaments through their world organisation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
2. In order for the IPU to be an effective link for cooperation between parliaments and the United Nations, it needs "a new and strengthened relationship with the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary organs." This is recognised by the General Assembly which, at its 55th session, requested the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with member States and with the IPU, to explore ways in which such a relationship may be established. The present note contains initial suggestions elaborated by the organisation's Executive Committee to achieve this purpose.
3. The General Assembly refers to a new relationship between the IPU, the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary organs. Currently, the IPU's relationship with the United Nations is determined by the organisation's consultative status, category I, with the UN Economic and Social Council*, and by the Cooperation Agreement concluded between the two organisations in 1996.
4. The Executive Committee suggests that the new relationship should replace the Union's consultative status, category I, with the Economic and Social Council. It should also represent a major step forward from the cooperation established under the 1996 Agreement.
5. The UNGA resolution also refers to a strengthened relationship. The Executive Committee suggests that such a relationship should make it possible, in practice, for the IPU to bring a parliamentary dimension to the work of the United Nations and, in the words of the Millennium Declaration of the Heads of State and Government, permit the latter to cooperate with national parliaments through the IPU.
6. The Committee is of the view that this relationship should be reciprocal to allow the two organisations to contribute to each other's work. It should be a two-way relationship in which the IPU can serve as a relay from national parliaments to the United Nations and from the United Nations to national parliaments.
7. Moreover, the relationship should be complementary. The IPU wishes to offer additional support to the United Nations System without seeking to replace the existing governmental cooperation within the world organisation.
8. Finally, the relationship should not alter the fact that the two organisations are independent of each other. The Executive Committee suggests that the IPU be given a place with a name plate in the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies in a manner that reflects this independence.
How can the IPU contribute to the United Nations?
9. The IPU can help the United Nations to strengthen its cooperation with national parliaments in several ways. The Executive Committee suggests that the Union can, in particular,
10. The Executive Committee concurs with the Millennium Declaration that the strengthened cooperation should cover various fields, including peace and security, economic and social development, international law and human rights, democracy and gender issues.
11. At the same time, it suggests that there is a need for strategic planning of this cooperation. To this end, the Committee suggests that the IPU could work with the UN Secretary-General and Member States to identify elements for a programme of work for the IPU in which the Union would promote parliamentary debate and action in specific areas jointly identified as priorities for receiving parliamentary attention and support. In this context, the UN could also be given the faculty to propose items for consideration by the IPU.
Mechanisms for the implementation of a new and strengthened relationship
12. The Executive Committee believes there is scope for further developing the organisation's support to the United Nations by increasingly and more systematically providing a platform for the United Nations to interact directly with parliaments and their members. This can be done at the different parliamentary meetings the IPU organises, including by expanding on the annual parliamentary meeting it organises in cooperation with the United Nations on the occasion of the General Assembly and by more systematically organising parliamentary meetings in connection with UNGA Special Sessions and United Nations Conferences and Summits.
13. Moreover, the Committee believes that for the IPU to channel parliamentary support to the United Nations, whether the work relates to issues that are on the agendas of the General Assembly, its Main Committees, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and their subsidiary bodies or those of specialised conferences and summits organised by the United Nations, it should be able to participate without a vote in the work of these bodies, make oral statements and circulate documents. It is understood that IPU's contribution would be confined to those limited instances when the organisation has developed a specific position to be relayed to the United Nations.
14. The Committee also suggests that the IPU provide information and other assistance in areas where it has specific expertise whenever requested by the General Assembly, its Main Committees, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and their subsidiary bodies or by specialised conferences and summits organised by the United Nations.
15. Over and above providing political support to the United Nations organs, the Executive Committee suggests that the IPU could also provide operational support to the United Nations Departments, Programmes and Agencies.
16. In relation to promotion of peace and security, the Committee believes that there is a potential for closer involvement of the IPU in certain peace-building and peace-keeping operations where the organisation, through its technical assistance programme, can channel support from national parliaments to the building and strengthening of democratic structures and, in particular, to the parliament itself.
17. The IPU has developed specific expertise in relation to human rights, democracy and gender issues. In these fields, the Committee believes that cooperation could be increased significantly, and duplication of activities avoided, particularly in areas such as the provision of statistical data and the granting of technical assistance to States.
Coordination of activities
18. The Executive Committee also suggests that the IPU could on occasion be invited to participate in the work of the United Nations Administrative Committee on Coordination when the latter is considering matters on which the IPU has special expertise such as in the field of democracy.
* Consultative arrangement under article 71 of the UN Charter which is available to non-governmental organisations that are concerned with matters within the competence of the UN Economic and Social Council